Ryan: Dem charges he misrepresented plant closure ‘way off base’

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) pushed back on Wednesday against Democratic charges that his acceptance speech contained factual errors, telling Fox News the accusations were "way off base."

"Look, I stand behind everything that was in my speech," Ryan said in an interview on “Fox and Friends.”

“The fact is, President Obama has failed on this economy; the fact is he has not led on this budget at all; the fact is the Senate has not passed a budget in three years; and the problem is the facts as they are today are not good for the president and his reelection prospects," he added.

Democrats have accused Ryan of leveling unfair criticisms on a number of issues. They say the GOP vice presidential nominee knocked a stimulus package he requested funds from, criticized the president for not moving on a debt commission report he voted against and insinuated the president was responsible for the closure of an auto plant in Ryan’s hometown of Janesville, Wis.

But Ryan on Wednesday defended his statements, saying he was simply "pointing out the inconvenient truths of this administration."

Ryan said Democrats were mischaracterizing his comments on the closure of the General Motors plant in Janesville and argued he had not accused the president of shuttering the facility.

"They're talking about Janesville, Wis., my hometown. Nobody could accuse President Obama of shutting down the factory in Janesville, but President Obama came to the factory in Janesville and said he would lead efforts to keep it open for 100 years," Ryan said. "Then when the factory was actually shut down, he said he would lead a retooling effort for factories like Janesville to get people back to work. Nobody's working there. It's still shut down."

The Obama campaign this week has leveled a series of harsh charges against Mitt Romney and Ryan, accusing them of intentionally misrepresenting the president’s record. On Sunday, senior Obama adviser David Plouffe said the Romney campaign was “built on a tripod of lies,” and deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter charged that Republicans think “lying is a virtue.”

Obama, in an interview released Monday, said his opponents were running against a “fictional” distortion of his record. 

Democrats have homed in on Ryan’s remarks about the Janesville plant, calling it a “falsehood” in a campaign “fact check” sent to reporters Tuesday.

But that Ryan was asked about these issues, even on the normally friendly confines of "Fox and Friends," suggests the strategy from Democrats could be resonating. 

Wednesday morning, Romney campaign staffers were circulating instances where Vice President Biden had been similarly admonished by fact checkers — including Biden's incorrect claim that Romney "cost the government and American taxpayers $10 million" in a "federal bailout" for Bain Capital.

Earlier on the same program, Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) said he would encourage Biden to press Ryan on his "use of facts" in the vice presidential debate. The Maryland lawmaker and fellow member of the House Budget Committee is playing Ryan in mock debates.

"I think Paul is a good debater; the question is the use of facts on the budget," Van Hollen said. "I think we're going to hear a lot more about that — as you know, with his acceptance speech, there was a lot of fact-checking going on the next day."